Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, was given an aerial tour of the wildfires in the Burns Lake area today.
“What we saw was a number of number of large fires, trees that were burning, visible flames, large smoke plumes,” he described at a press conference today. “Just some aggressive fire behaviour on the ground and very dry fuels.”
According to Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service, this year’s wildfire season is more spread out than last year’s.
“This year the fire season seemed to have started later, but it’s more spread than last year, when it was concentrated in the Cariboo, Okanagan and a little bit in the south east.”
Nearly 2800 crews, 204 aircraft are combating the approximately 460 fires burning across the province today.
”With fire danger ratings ranging from high to extreme, we have fire bans in most areas of the province,” said Skrepnek. “Smoke is becoming a bit of a concern.”
These wildfires have cost the province $131 million to date.
Skrepnek said the B.C. Wildfire Service is bracing for a “dramatic shift” in weather this Friday.
“Temperatures are going to drop, but with that system coming through it will bring increased winds and thunderstorm activity,” he said. “We’re keeping a close eye on that weather activity for Friday, but we are bracing for it to be a challenging day.”
The Shovel Lake Fire, located approximately 30 km northeast of Burns Lake, is now 6,850 hectares.
The Island Lake Fire, located south of Francois Lake, has consumed 7,000 hectares and is only 10 per cent contained.
The Verdun Mountain Fire, located 17 km southwest of Grassy Plains, is estimated at 500 hectares.
The Nadina Lake Fire, located 60 km south of Houston, has burned 5,700 hectares and is 20 per cent contained.
The Gilmore Lake Fire, located eight km southwest of Topley, has burned approximately 100 hectares since it was discovered yesterday.